It's hard to find an entry level keyboard that meets the following 3 criteria :
- Beginner Friendly
- Affordable Price Tag
- Comes With All Required Features To Learn and Grow
Any keyboard that comes under the price tag of $150 are not guaranteed to last long.
And the one which are available feels and sounds like a toy piano.
But Luckily, Yamaha has to offer a keyboard that fulfills all the required entry level criteria without burning a hole in your pocket.
It's Yamaha PSR E263 and is termed as an ideal starter keyboard and E263 pretty much nails it.
The Yamaha PSR family consists of 13 keyboards as of now.
- PSR I500 (* New )
- EW 410
- EW 300
- E273 (* New )
- E263 - (The one we are reviewing in this post)
- EZ 220
- YPT 255
- PSS A50
- PSS F30
Yamaha PSR Series keyboards are portable, features Yamaha Education Suite, lots of tones, wide connectivity options and decent sounding speakers and all these within a budget friendly price tag.
The entry level PSR E263 is one of the best selling keyboard in the entire PSR Series.
E273 does not come near the PSR E263 in lots of aspects.
Note : PSR series keyboards are not completely classified as digital piano. Their's a bit significant differences in both.
We can classify E263 as Arranger Keyboard.
With that being said, lets begin the detailed analysis of one of my most preferred keyboard in the entry level segment the PSR E263.
Comparing Yamaha PSR E263 With Yamaha's Other Best Selling Digital Pianos
Full Size Keys
Inbuilt Lesson Function
Can be Battery Powered
Very Affordable Price
87% Reviews On Amazon
Fully Weighted Hammer Action Keys
CF Sound Engine
91% positive reviews on Amazon
Weighted Hammer Action Keys
AWM Sound Engine
88% positive reviews on Amazon
Best In The Class
Graded Hammer Action Keys (GH 3)
Pure CF Sound Engine
87% Positive Reviews
PSR EW 300
Touch Sensitive Keys
Lots Of Learning Features
81% Positive Reviews
Touch Response Keys
Yamaha Education Suite For Easy Learning
Weighs only 8.8 Lbs
PC, Mobile Connectivity
87% Positive Reviews
Yamaha PSR E263 Features and Specs
Reading Reviews Is So 90's Instead, Check The Video Review Of Yamaha PSR E263 Below ? (04:43)
Overall Design of E263 is quite simple and sleek.
There's nothing much to talk about.
The keyboard is quite lightweight and can also be powered via batteries.
All of the function buttons are on the front layout with a LCD Display in the center.
The display comes handy while navigating, identifying the running settings, and in accessing the inbuilt learning features.
If the LCD display comes with backlit then it would have been much better.
Keys - Disappointed
The Keys of PSR E263 disappointed me a bit, or may be I was expecting too much from $130 keyboard.
As the 61 full size key is decent in touch but are not weighted neither touch sensitive.
I understand weighted keys is just too much expectation but velocity sensitive looks feasible in this price bracket.
And for a beginner touch sensitive keys are a great add-on as it allows the player to be more expressive and helps in understanding the rhythm and pressure relation.
Tones and Music Functions
One of the USP of PSR E263 is the huge amount of voices, styles and songs it offers.
The bundled 400 instruments voices covers tones from every musical instrument you can count of.
With 125+ auto accompaniment styles, which covers genres all around the world. (Auto Accompaniment is a feature that plays a particular instrument or a group of instrument together in the background like an group performance. Nowadays, auto accompaniment are dynamic and plays music entirely depending upon the user input.)
Maximum Number of polyphony - 32. Polyphony in piano means the maximum number of notes the piano can sound at a same time.
To be honest 32 notes polyphony is not that enough but from an entry level perspective its enough to kick off your musical journey.
Sound Quality Of The PSR E263 Keyboard
The Ultra wide stereo sound provides good expanded sound. As said above the sound is rich and sweet but is not that much punchy.
And expecting any thing more in this price range doesn't seems to be too fair, After all "You will get what you pay for."
The beautiful Sound source technology behind the PSR series is Yamaha's AWM Stereo Sampling.
The piano sounds are sampled from the iconic Yamaha's Concert Grand Pianos.
The sound are sweet and surely realistic. But personally I am fed up with the sound samples.
Yamaha is using the same library sound on most of their keyboards (digital piano samples are recreated from a different Concert Grand) and these needs to be updated.
Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S.)
What makes Yamaha PSR E263 a considering option for beginner is the In-Built Lesson mode known as Yamaha Education Suite.
Y.E.S. is a powerful easy to use onboard teaching tool that makes piano learning easy and fun.
The teaching tool will help in building a solid foundation for new learners and teaches finger placement, timing, note recognition, Understanding Tempo and different chords.
These are great feature to kick things off but that does not mean that it can replace a piano teacher.
But at initial stage it's definitely a wonderful add-on.
I particularly liked one of the inbuilt lesson mode that breaks a full length song into several part.
The lesson mode then teach you each part at a time by displaying the finger placement position in the display.
You proceed part by part at your own pace, and when you are done with all the individual parts you bridge them to form a complete song again.
And Voila !! you learned how to play a full song completely on your own. That's really cool.
Recording and Other Modes
Recording your performance and reviewing it later helps you in analyzing your song and understanding which part needs to be worked upon.
I always suggest my students to analyze your performances from an audience perspective, its really very crucial in your development as a performer.
So for capturing your performances the single track Inbuilt Phrase Recorder on the PSR E263 comes really handy.
Duo Mode: The duo mode allows you to play along with your partner.
What the duo mode does is that it splits the keyboard into 2 identical halves with same notes on both side, each side also has its own Middle C.
As a student you can sit along with your teacher and learn by watching and copying teacher's hand.
Doing practice with a partner or a teacher sitting along in the same keyboard really accelerates the learning progress.
Yamaha PSR E263 keyboards offers AUX In, Sustain Pedal and Headphone connectivity options only.
The AUX In connectivity allows you to connect your mobile or MP3 player and play song along with playing the keyboard.
E263 does not support USB to Device and USB to Host connectivity options which is not cool at all.
I wish it comes with it but you need to face the reality atlast you will get what you pay for.
Yamaha PSR E263 Vs Yamaha PSR E363 Vs Casio CTK 2550 Vs Casio CTK 3500
|Yamaha PSR E263||Yamaha PSR E363||Casio CTK 2550||Casio CTK 3500|
|Number of Keys||61||61||61||61|
|Type of Keys||Full size||Full-sized keys, Touch sensitive||Synth action||Touch Response (2 sensitivity levels)|
|Other Controllers||Pitchbend wheel|
|Polyphony||32 Notes||48 Notes||48 Notes||48 Notes|
|Presets||400 voices, 130 styles, 112 song presets||574 voices (197 sounds, 18 drum/sfx, 339 XGlite voices), 154 preset songs||400 voices, 100 rhythms, 50 dance music patterns||400 voices, 100 rhythms, 50 dance music patterns|
|Effects Types||Reverb, Chorus, Stereo DSP, Master EQ||Reverb, Chorus, EQ, Harmony||10 x Reverbs, Hall, Dance music effect||10 x Reverbs, Hall, Dance music effect|
|Audio Recording||Phrase recorder||2-track song recorder|
|Audio Inputs||1 x 1/8" (aux in)||1 x 1/8" (aux in)||1 x 1/8" (aux in)||1 x 1/8" (aux in)|
|Audio Outputs||1 x 1/4" (headphones)||1 x 1/4" (headphones)||1 x 1/4" (headphones, out)||1 x 1/4" (headphones, out)|
|USB||1 x Type B||1 x Type B|
|Pedal Inputs||1 x 1/4" (sustain)||1 x 1/4" (sustain/damper)||1 x 1/4" (sustain/damper)|
|Features||Compatible with Chordana Play app (iOS, Android)||Compatible with Chordana Play app (iOS, Android)|
|Built-in Speakers||2 x 4.7" 2.5W stereo||2 x 4.7" (2.5W per side)||2 x 3.9", 2W per side||2 x 3.9", 2W per side|
|Power Supply||12V DC power supply (sold separately) / 6 x AA batteries||12V DC power supply (optional) / 6 x AA batteries||9.5V DC power supply / 6 x AA batteries||9.5V DC power supply / 6 x AA batteries|
|Weight||8.8 lbs.||10 lbs. 2 oz.||7.3 lbs.||7.4 lbs.|
My Experience With Yamaha PSR E263 Portable Keyboard
I used the Yamaha PSR E263 keyboard for around 25-28 days when it was launched in 2017 and I can sum up my experience as quite good.
There's not much to complain about when considering the price and the actual user level the keyboard is designed for.
But I really wish the next update of the model comes with :
- Touch responsive keys
- USB Connectivity Options
(But Unluckily, The updated model PSR E273 also lacks the mentioned feature.)
So, Overall I can say that Yamaha PSR E263 is one of the perfect keyboard for entry level pianist, and worth considering as a gift for your loved ones.
It's also favorable for piano teachers as well.
If you are looking for similar style keyboard with few more advance features to avoid future upgrade then the PSR E453 is a good option worth considering. You can check our detailed analysis of E453 here.
With whooping 92% (4.6 star from 900+ rating) over Amazon simply reflects the amount of love the keyboard is getting from its users.
That's all for today, Hope our review of Yamaha PSR-E263 keyboard helped you in making a better informed decision.
Keep Playing and Spread Love.